Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You want to know what?

As a writer, I get all sorts of questions tossed at me. Some of them are what I call repeaters, questions that get asked a lot. For those, I have my prepared answers down pat. Some questions are downright funny--people wanting to understand the strange mechanics of how a writer’s mind works. I usually just make up an answer for those, because please, I don’t understand how my mind works, either.

Some of those questions are just weird, and they make me laugh. Then there are the others that give me concerns about my fans, readers, and human population in general. (You know who you are.)

However, no matter what category those questions fall into, most of the time, (okay, there are a few exceptions) I still love being asked. Why? First because, curiosity generally means interest and interest could result in book sells, and second . . . Well, was it Will Farrell who said, “Inappropriate behavior always makes me laugh.”

So just for grins, and laughs, let me share some of those questions. I’ll also share my answers. And okay, because you are who you are, I’m going to go one step further and even give you the truth.

* * *

Question: “Do you ever take your characters with you when you go places?” (Can you believe I’ve been asked that more than once?)

Answer: Of course, I do. But I insist that they pay their own way, unless I have a buy-one-get-one-free coupon.

Truth: I usually just stick them in my purse, and don’t feed them and sneak them into places without buying them a ticket. I save the buy one get one free coupons for real friends.

* * *

Question: “When you hear your characters talking to you, how do you know that it’s just creativity and not that you really are crazy?” (Internal comment: duh.)

Answer: “Does it really have to be one or the other?”

Truth: Anyone who sits around all day and spends hours envisioning and writing about the lives of their characters, along with making facial expressions in the mirror so she can describe them, has to be a little bit bonkers.

* * *

Question: “Is your husband jealous of your heroes?” (This answer has variations.)

Answer if Hubby isn’t around: “Of course, he’s jealous. My heroes are so hot, he knows he can’t compete.”

Answer if Hubby is around: “Jealous? Why? He knows I pattern all my heroes after him.”

Truth: Just as there is a little of myself in each of my heroines, there really is a bit of my husband in all my heroes.

Funny anecdote: Recently, my husband was reading one of my books and he started laughing. “Hey, this sounds like something I would say.”

“ Yeah,” I told him honestly, “Now, turn to page 123, and see if you can just get your six pack to look like his.”

“I’ll try if you’ll grab a feather duster and turn to page 220.” He gets a twinkle in his eye.

Moral of the funny anecdote: Sometimes fiction and real life can co-mingle and it’s a win-win for everyone.

* * *

Question: “Do you research your scenes?” (Asked by some sleazy-looking man in which fiction and real life will never co-mingle.)

Answer: “Of course, I do.”

Second question: (Yup, I know it’s coming) “Do you ever need a research assistant?”

Answer: (Given with a straight face and hopefully not showing signs of my inner most thought, which is GROSS!) “Of course I do.”

More expected sleaze to come: “In that case, I’d love to volunteer.” Sleazy guys scratches himself in an inappropriate place.

My smartass reply: “I’m so thrilled you offered. Let me run get my gun. I’m doing a scene where some scumbag gets shot in the kneecap and I need someone to describe how it feels. And I happen to love my husband too much to ask him to do it.” (Statement ending in a very serious, you-gotta-be-joking eye roll.)

Truth: I write funny and sexy love stories. I’m very proud of my genre. I’ll be the first to make a joke and don’t mind a comment or two about the sexy content of my books. (Hey, sex can be funny.) But one should never forget that my stories are about two people falling in love and making a commitment to each other and the relationship. Hubby is the only one I co-mingle with.

* * *

Question: “What do you do when your characters misbehave?”

Answer: “I call the fiction police to arrest them and put them in solitary confinement.”

Truth: I generally sit back and enjoy it. Like I said, inappropriate behavior makes me laugh and if I’m laughing, so will my readers.

* * *

Okay…those are a few of the questions I get asked. And now, what I’m offering you is the opportunity to ask me even more questions. I have to warn you upfront. Stupid questions about my love scenes will generally warrant stupid answers. And oh yeah, remember I’m southern, which means I will never tell the truth if a lie will make a better tale. But go ahead and give it your best shot.

And to one lucky poster, I’ll offer a pack of my note cards. So come on, play along with me.

Crime Scene Christie

35 comments:

terrio said...

The life of a writer is so entertaining.

I'll take a shot. Did you always write in this genre and if not, in what other genres did (do?) you play?

How did you know where your voice would work best?

Jenyfer Matthews said...

Okay, I'll play :)

Where did you come up with the talking refrigerator in Divorced Desperate and Delicious?

Francyne said...

You are soooo funny. Loved the comment on how southerners prefer to lie if it will make a better story. I'm seeing you at lunch today, so I'll ask my question in private, if only for the fun of hearing a lie.

bookmobiler said...

"Question: “What do you do when your characters misbehave?”"
I suppose misbehaving can be funny, but what do you do when they don't want to do what your plot needs them to do?
I've read of many writers complaining about characters taking on a life of their own and wanting to go places and do things that don't fit in the planned story.
Do you have to beat them into submission or do you find yourself dragged kicking and screaming in a new direction?

Faye Hughes said...

Great post, Christie.

I've been asked a lot of strange questions over the years. One of the strangest happened to me at a booksigning. A young couple, probably in their late teens, came over to the table where I was sitting and asked if they could ask me a question. Thinking it would be something about writing, I smiled and said "sure."

Surprise! It wasn't about writing, or even about anything in my book. They wanted my opinion about an argument they had been having--he wanted to go out with his friends once a week and party but she didn't think that was appropriate. So, there I am, sitting there at this autographing being asked my opinion about their relationship woes.

I laughed and asked if they were doing a survey in the bookstore. Nope. They were asking me because I wrote romance "and probably knew all about romantic stuff."

LOL.

I ended up telling them that a boys' night out was fine as long as she had a girls' night out. Really weird.

And Francyne, that is so not fair! We want to hear your question to Christie. LOL.

Faye

Christie Craig said...

Terrio,

My first book was a Silhouette Romance, Two Hearts Too Late, published in 1994. There were touches of humor in it, but it wasn't a romantic comedy. At that time, when I was plotting and really getting my feet wet in the whole “being a writer”, romantic comedies weren't that popular, so I wrote what was popular. I don’t think I even knew what “voice” was.

I’m not 100% certain I knew who I was. What can I say, I was young, dumb, and still getting comfortable in own skin. I had always looked at life in a quirky, off-the-wall kind of way. I grew up in household where humor was not only way of life, but a coping mechanism. So when things were going smooth we laughed a lot. When things got stressful, like when mama accidentally stole a car, or when I almost drove through the post office window, sending customers diving behind the counter, we laughed harder. I think the hardest part about learning my voice was to realize that I didn’t have to tone down my whacky sense of humor. It was okay to be me.

I really learned that lesson when I wrote my first humorous essay, and I had four offers on it and was offered the job as monthly humor column for a national magazine. And while I love writing humor, and it shows up in all of my books, I do have some plots that are . . . not really romantic comedies. Who knows, maybe I’ll bring out my dark side

I’ve written three western, humorous, historicals that may someday show up on the shelves. I have also done a few darker romantic suspenses, with only touches of humor, that someday I may entertain the idea of sending out into the publishing world to play.

So I guess my answer about voice is that voice is a bit like a finding that great pair of jeans. When from the first time you zip them up, they just feel right, feel good. And you turn around and realize that your butt doesn’t look half the size it really is, and you know you are taking those jeans home. And then it helps when people start telling you, “Wow, those jeans look good girl.” Yup, discovering voice and discovering a great pair of jeans are one in the same.

Thanks for posting Terrio!

anne said...

Your entertaining blog is a great start to the day. Do you travel and do you enjoy seeing new places and experiencing new and fun places.

Christie Craig said...

Jenyfer,

I know you may find this hard to believe, but that refrigerator exist. I wrote an article about trends in appliances and I found all those quirky high-tech stuff and I knew I had to put them in a book. See part of the article below:

Toss your sticky notes and lose the memo pads - - - the Amana Messenger refrigerator eliminates the clutter and hassle of written notes. This unique refrigerator has a built-in voice memo function and a long list of convenient features that can make life a little less hectic.

Not only can you leave voice messages for other household members with a touch of a button, i.e., ADon=t forget to marinate the steaks and take out the garbage,@ but the Amana Messenger also monitors and alerts you to a variety of refrigerator functions. For example, it lets you know when it=s time to change the water or air filter. If there=s a power outage, its practical electronics tell you the exact length of the outage so you don=t have to guess whether your food is safe to eat. This talking refrigerator even lets you know when the doors have accidentally been left open.

Christie Craig said...

Francyne,

Oh, boy. Now I can look foward to our lunch. I know, coming from you, it will be reall doozer, too.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Bookmobiler,

Yup, sometimes the characters don't want to do what I want them to do. I say, "Go into the basement."

They say, "Are you kidding, I've been in your head, and I know what you've got planned for me in the basement."

I don't believe in punishment, I just use bribes. I promise them chocolate and a great sex scene.

But seriously, when I have a problem with my characters not following a path that I've set out for them, I generally stop and rethink the path. I may be trying to force them to do something that isn't in their character.

Thanks for posting!

Crime Scene Christie

diane said...

mMusing and fun post today. Do you dream about your lifelike characters.

Christie Craig said...

Anne,

I love, love to travel. In my spare time, yeah, there's not a lot of it, but in my spare time, I actually write travel articles.

I've eaten toad soup in China. Snails in Paris. I got thrown out of a circus in Venezuala.

I still haven't marked off all the states in the US, but I've hit quite a few, and there's only a couple that I can't go back to.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

jenna said...

Thanks for this post today. Just what I needed to energize my busy day.
Inventive situations and characters must be something you relate to.

Christie Craig said...

Faye,
Hey, that wasn't a stupid question. That was a sign, or am I imagining that you are writing relationship books now?

Wait, I know you are doing it because you are the co-writer with that other girl...uh, I think her name is Christie Craig.

Thanks for stopping by.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Diane,

I do dream some of my plots. Of course, some of dreams have to be edited, heavily, I mean the . . . "showing up naked at school" dream isn't one I really want to write about. Or maybe I do. It might be funny.

Mostly what I do is go to bed and ask the "plotting angel" we all have one right, to give me an idea or an answer to a problem I might be having. When I wake up in the morning I will generally have a couple of ideas or solutions.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

alissa said...

You can always give me a lift. It would brighten up my life and be a unique experience.
Does your life intersect with your stories.

Gemma Halliday said...

Great questions, Christie! And even better answers. ;)

I think my fav question a reader has asked has to be, "My son is single and it would be really cool if you were my daughter in law. Can I have your phone number?" Lol!
One guess what my answer was.

~Gemma

Christie Craig said...

Jenna,

Thanks for posting. Inventive/unique situations are pretty much norm around her. And I love crazy characters, too.

Thanks for stopping by.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Alissa

Does my life intersect my stories? I'm afraid so. I'm afraid so, my life's pretty nutty most of the time. Between the cats, the dog, the rats, the rabbit (floppy-skivies), the turtles, and the raccoon who knocks on the window if there isn't food in his bowl, well life is pretty much a circus.

But hey, at least I'm never bored.

Thanks for posting.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Gemma,

Wait. I need to know. Did you say yes? If so, are we going to be hearing about this later on? And did the mother know that you also write about murder?

Curious minds want to know.

Crime Scene Christie

terrio said...

You never know Gemma, that dude could have been a coroner. Your perfect mate!

Christie - should have known you have a dark and twisty side. Glad to see the humor wins out...most of the time.

Christie Craig said...

Terrio,

Moi? Dark and twisty? Okay, maybe on PMS days.

Crime Scene Christie

ellie said...

Unique blog today which always gets me going. How do you extricate yourself from these situations and how real are they.

Keri Ford said...

All of these have been so fun to read! Have you ever come across a story idea, but you know for certain you are NOT the one to write it?

Christie Craig said...

Ellie,

Unfortunately, most of my experiences are true. Okay, I admit, I see life through humor glasses and therefore they are funnier when I recount them. However, I think the ability to get myself in awkward situations is inherited. Seriously, my mom did accidentally steal a car, and she also lost her teeth on Continental airlines. In my defense, I've never stole a car, and my teeth are not removable. This said, I have had a run in with a mattress on a major highway, I have innocently started taking a few images of some good-looking firemen hanging out in fire truck and been totally shocked when they started taking their clothes off. My husband really did pull over in Burger King drive-through while I was in labor and practically the entire work staff got to experience my water break. Oh, and I was felt up by an elephant while my husband and hundred of other people stood by laughing their butts off.

As for how I extricate myself from the situations? Well, I try to walk away with dignity. However, sometimes that's no possible, so I've learned that the abilty to laugh at yourself, makes the situations a tad less embarrassing. Laugh and the people will laugh with you, and not at you.

Crime Scene Christie

Christie Craig said...

Keri,

You know, my time writing non-fiction for magazines trained me write in various tones. I can write very emotional and I can write very funny--with my natural voice leaning toward humor. I can write high-brow and down-home country. Can ya' guess, which one of those is my natural voice?

But yes, I think there are stories that have floated through my mind and I rejected due to some "Don't Go there" emotion.

Before I sold, I toyed with the idea writing an erotica. I completed a proposal, but when I handed it to my writing buddies, I was told that it wasn't erotica.

They were right. My stories, while sexy, all have a big romance/love plot. So I guess, the answer to your question is yes. There are some stories that I've turned away from.

Crime Scene Christie

Suzan Harden said...

Speaking of erotica, when do I get my book back?

Christie Craig said...

Hmmm...

Okay, Suzan, why is it when ever I talk about you, you pop on and see it?

Yep, Suzan is the one who really liked my erotica story, but said it wasn't erotica! And she should know because she does write the spicy stories.

Don't worry, Suzan. I'm using that plot in one of my future Dorchester releases.

Soon girl. Soon!

Thanks for posting!

Crime Scene Christie

Lucy said...

“I’m so thrilled you offered. Let me run get my gun. I’m doing a scene where some scumbag gets shot in the kneecap and I need someone to describe how it feels. And I happen to love my husband too much to ask him to do it.”

OMG, too funny. I absolutely love it!

Do you have someone who, say, ticked you off in mind when you kill off a "bad guy"?

Christie Craig said...

Lucy,

Do I ever kill people off in my books that tick me off?

Well, several too-perky Weight Watcher's leaders have met an unfortunate end.

The lady at the cosmetic counter who offered me some hair removal got a very special role.

But honestly, I don't ax people lightly. But I do bury them in my compost pile.

Thanks for posting Lucy.

Crime Scene Christie

catslady said...

The kneecap comment was my favorite and I just love your sense of humor. It's so much better to make things funny than take everything too serious.

So here's a question I know you've gotten and most authors hate - Which one of your books is your favorite (and you can't say the current one you're working on or that it would be like favoring one of your kids lol)

Christie Craig said...

Catslady,

Are you sure I can't use those two answers?

Darn!

Okay, I love them for different reasons. DD&D’s was impulsive, fun, sexy. Even the heroine’s appliances had character. Lacy was so ready for a man to lean on and so adamant that she was never going to fall in love. Chase was wounded, and so analytical that he was a hoot to write. And I can’t wait for my readers to read the second book, which is Sue and Jason’s story. And you’ll get to see Lacy and Chase.

Weddings Can Be Murder, is a bigger story, bigger in word count, bigger in plot. DD&Delicious was romantic suspense, Weddings is a mystery. I explored several different kinds of relationships in this book: brothers, girlfriends, father and son, ex-lovers. And you won’t the animals, because they are there as well—creating a little humor, a lot of love. There are two romances in the book. My main hero, Carl, is such a rough-around-the-edges type of man. He lost his mother as a teen and was raised by an ol fart of a father who is just as lovable as Carl. Katie is the good girl. Carl is the bad boy. Katie wants to worthy of bad boys attention, Carl longs to be worthy of good girl’s love. They are such opposites, but so right for each other. The attraction is spontaneous. The humor is still over the top, and it’s still romantic and still sexy, so my readers who like my humorous sexy tone will not be disappointed.

Thanks for posting Catslady.

Crime Scene Christie

Ms Terry in Gadsden Alabama said...

Ok ,now my turn, do you ever use the personalities of people from your home town in any of your characters in your books. I'm not asking you to name names, just wonder if some of our "interesting " citizens ever come to mind when your writing?

Hope i dont get in trouble for that one.

oh did i tell you the people here are asking " where's the new book?"

Christie Craig said...

Terry,

Hmmm....Do I confess, or not?

Yup, I have used some people from my hometown. Killed a few of them, too.

And that's all I'm saying.

Thanks for posting. And girl, you keep people asking my books. I'll be down in August. I can do a signing if you want.

CC

Ms Terry in Gadsden Alabama said...

Let me know the date in August and we'll have a even bigger turn out this time.

Thanks for the answer about hometown people being in your writings.

I can see how some of them might be ones you might have to use as the ones that have passed on.

TEE HEE .